Don’ts + Menu


I ran across a list of personal don’ts a few months back and was a little surprised. This particular list did not have anything to do with losing weight or reaching a goal, just a list of don’ts for life in general. I never would have thought to make a list of don’ts for myself and I probably never will. I am so grateful that the people in my life don’t have a list of don’ts either.

I understand the thought process behind it, but for me, it seems selfish. If my husband had a list of don’ts that included ‘I don’t clean’ I would be very stressed. When I am busy making Christmas cookies for Anderson’s class party and a fruit tray for Scarlett’s party and the house needs to be vacuumed because our dogs are shedding maniacs, but oh wait…that is on his list of ‘don’ts’ and so is cooking, I am pretty sure I would be one ill mama/wife. I have a lot of things on my plate, but having EVERYTHING on my plate because someone else has made a list of don’ts would not fly with me.

Could you imagine going on a first date and someone saying, ‘by the way, I don’t do…x, y, and z’? Ha. Dating would probably be a lot easier if it worked that way…I think they would probably hit you with their list AFTER the wedding.

I don’t have my own separate agenda when it comes to getting things done around the house. I do everything that needs to be done and so does my husband. If he thinks the house needs to be vacuumed, he does it. If there are dishes in the sink, he washes them. There are no certain “chores” that he has and I have and I am so grateful for that. Obviously, there are things he is more inclined to do than me and vice versa. That is just natural. He chops the wood, I wash the clothes, and I am fine with that.

He doesn’t sit on the couch while I make sure things are where they are supposed to be before company comes over. He is right there with me making sure everything gets done. We are a team and nothing would be quite as easy without someone there helping me along. We don’t have a list of don’ts because we are a team that works through things/life together. Maybe having specific things you refuse to do gives you peace of mind, but as for me, there is nothing I won’t do simply because it makes my life more stressful.

I think this list of don’ts seems so closed-minded. Why limit yourself like that? It is frustrating for me when someone tells me they don’t like something or refuses to try something BEFORE they have even tried it. I understand if drugs, alcohol, certain medicines, etc. that are bad for your health are on your list of don’ts, but exercise…come on now. When my child refuses to try certain foods and declares he doesn’t like it but has never actually tried it, is very frustrating. That is how this list makes me feel.

I would much rather have a list of dos than don’ts in my life. I am a do-er and will try anything (within reason) once. I do what needs to be done in life. I don’t sit and wait for someone else to get things done if I have the time and ability to do it. I do all things necessary, but that is just who I am. I have seen plenty of people that are plenty capable of completing tasks on their own, but wait on others to do them for them. Why? If you want it done, do it, but do it without complaining that someone didn’t do it for you.

Making a list of don’ts might make you feel better about things that are not getting done, because they aren’t on your shoulders, but how does the person feel that has those tasks to do? Isn’t that adding more stress onto the person that has to complete the tasks you refuse to do? Everyone needs a team of people or even just one person to back them up, help them out. No one needs someone to add more stress to their life. People like to say that it takes a village…I bet that village would run more smoothly if everyone was being helpful.

I might not be able to tell you what I don’t need, but I can tell you what I do need in my life. What I do need is a group of people that are loving, positive, and encouraging. For someone to help me without asking, because every time someone gets asked ‘do you need help’ the automatic response is ‘I’m good, I can handle it’. I need grace, patience, perspective, and wisdom. I need time for myself and time to reflect. I need my time at church. I need a group of strong minded women that are honest and grounded. A list of dos, is much better than a list of don’ts.

Christmas Favorites

Chocolate Christmas Crinkle Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Breakfast Casserole

Banana French Toast Casserole

Bourbon Pecan Pie or Pecan Pie

Chocolate Christmas Crinkle Cookies

Anderson loves to help make these or any cookie really. These are great without any sprinkles and can be for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patricks Day…the holidays are endless, just change your color of sprinkles or no sprinkles. These cookies remind me of a brownie cookie if you don’t let them overcook. I like to make sure my edges are crisp but the center stays soft when I bake cookies.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Christmas sprinkles, to decorate 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

THESE have been my go-to cookies for the past few years anytime I need to bake a batch for someone or for Anderson and Scarlett’s class parties. I stumbled upon these because Josh LOVES the Double-Tree chocolate chip cookies. There was a bad storm coming one year and we were expected to be without power for a long time. Who doesn’t want cookies when you know the power is going to be out for a long time?

Every now and then you can find copycat recipes online or the exact recipe to some chain restaurants, stores, etc. and this is the one I picked to try out. It’s not exactly like the Double-Tree cookies, but it sure is close and we love them! The only thing I leave out is the walnuts.

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
3 cups semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips (you can use regular-sized chocolate chips instead)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 

Breakfast Casserole

I have made two different casseroles every year for Christmas morning since Anderson was born. I guess you can say it is now a tradition for me. I started out making two different casseroles because I could not decide which one I wanted to make. They both sounded delicious and were both so different.

What I love is that I can put it all together the night before and throw it in the oven while we open gifts. It all smells amazing cooking and is ready to eat by the time we get through unwrapping and assembling all the toys.

It is super simple and so good! Obviously, I am not counting my macros Christmas day, so don’t look for any adjustments to these recipes. Just enjoy!

1/2 – 1 pound sausage
1 package crescent rolls
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 Tsp oregano or rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 

Banana French Toast Casserole

This is the second casserole I make for Christmas morning. It is completely opposite of the breakfast casserole but man it is so good. It takes a lot more prework than the breakfast casserole but is worth the time and effort. It doesn’t really need any extra toppings like syrup or whipped cream, but if that is your thing, have at it! I know Anderson will want to add whipped cream or syrup to his.

These casseroles are both large enough to take to a family gathering or to eat on all week. I would cut the ingredients in half if you are just planning on a few people eating on it for one day. You will throw away more than you want to if not.

Brown sugar banana filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
pinch salt
3 ripe-firm bananas peeled and sliced
French toast:
8 large eggs
1 cup milk preferably whole or 2%
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
One 15 oz loaf French bread cut into large cubes (preferably a day or two old)
1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
To serve: maple syrup, caramel sauce, sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and/or whipped cream 

Bourbon Pecan Pie or Pecan Pie

I am not going to lie, this bourbon pecan pie is EXTRA. I cooked it for the first time this past Thanksgiving at my mom’s house. I always bake a pecan pie, not because I like it, but the men in the family do. My husband requested this pie and I accepted.

I made 3 pies that night. The bourbon pecan pie, my regular super simple pecan pie (also linked because it is the easiest and tastes great for that that don’t like to try new things), and an apple pie.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3 1/2 ounces pecan halves or pieces
6 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons bourbon, chilled
3 large eggs
3 1/2 ounces sugar
6 ounces golden syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces Spiced Pecans, recipe follows, coarsely chop 6 ounces and leave the remaining 2 ounces whole
Spiced Pecans:
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
1 pound pecan halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water 

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